Rare Deep-Sea Anglerfish Found on San Diego Beach

A rare Pacific footballfish, a deep-sea anglerfish usually found at ocean depths of more than 2,000 feet, was found on beach in San Diego, California on November 13, according to local reports.

Jay Beiler, who captured these images, told Storyful he encountered the fish on Torrey Pines State Beach. “At first I thought it was a — like a jellyfish or something, and then I went and looked at it a little more carefully, and some other people were gathered around it too, and then I saw that it was this very unusual fish,” Beiler told NBC 7 San Diego. “It’s the stuff of nightmares — mouth almost looked bloody! I’d say it was nearly a foot long.”

According to NBC 7, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported the fish was a Pacific footballfish, one of the larger anglerfish species found throughout the Pacific Ocean. However, the species has only been seen “a few times” in California, said Ben Frable, manager of the marine vertebrate collection at Scripps.

The Pacific footballfish species live at depths between 2,000 to 3,300 feet, where sunlight doesn’t penetrate, according to the California Academy of Sciences. The fish use a fleshy, bioluminescent lure from their heads to attract prey. Credit: Jay Beiler via Storyful